Facebook Breakdown Reporting: Fine Tune Your Ad Sets


Facebook Breakdown Reporting: Fine Tune Your Ad Sets

In an ideal world, you’ll have such an abundance of ad budget that you have the freedom to create dozens of ad sets that are so specific that you have no question on whether a certain demographic is running efficiently or not.

However, for many small businesses that are just starting out with Paid Social, this isn’t the case. Even at just $1 a day per ad set, half a dozen ad sets can set you back a couple of hundred dollars a month. While $200 isn’t necessarily breaking the bank, over time low conversion rates can be costly if your ad sets are not fine tuned and running at their most optimal.

So how can you effectively test demographics without going over your budget with dozens of ad sets?

This can be done simply by studying the Breakdown Reporting for your current ad sets.

What and Where is Breakdown Reporting?

When you’re first starting out, on the surface it may appear that you are limited to whatever column data you set up when it comes to analyzing your ad set results.

But in reality, there’s actually a whole other world of reporting that is buried right below that surface and is just waiting for you to dig deeper into!

One of those super helpful below-the-surface reporting tools is called the Breakdown Report. The Breakdown Report let’s you take all of the current data from your ad sets and filter it by demographics so you can see reporting at a more micro level.

When viewing ad sets and campaigns, you’ll see three drop down options on the top right of the ad set area; Columns, Breakdown and Export.


When you click the Breakdown drop down, you’ll be presented with a plethora of options. Today, we’re going to focus on the following options under the first header, “By Delivery”.

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Country

Case Study: Belgium Athletes Camp

In today’s example, we will look at one ad set that targets both men and women in multiple European countries for an athlete’s camp that is being held in Belgium.

Current Ad Set Specifics

  • Men and Women
  • Ages 20-40
  • Locations: Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden
  • Interest: CrossFit
  • Goal: Clicks per Link
  • Potential Reach: 3.7 million
  • Daily Budget: $1 a day


Even though the cost per link click is relatively low at $0.07 and the link clicks are at a good high number in relation to the money spent, we can work on getting this cost down even more.

Breakdown by Gender

First, let’s explore the ad set results at a higher level. This ad set is geared towards both men and women, so let’s look at the percentage of each in terms of reach and clicks.


We can see in the first column that of the 222 link clicks, 85% of those clicks are from males. Does that mean we should kill this ad set and create another one that is just geared towards men and forget about the ladies? Not necessarily.

Take a look at the last column on the right; you’ll notice that even though 85% of the clicks came from males, it’s because over 75% of the people reached (aka, eyeballs in front of our ad) were male. But we know that out of the 3.7 million potential reach, 2.0 million are male and 1.7 million are female, so there is no lacking of female audience for this particular ad set.

So why is the reach so disproportionate? The reach of a Facebook ad or campaign is determined not only by ad performance but also competition with other ads in the marketplace. Because Facebook optimizes your ads to get the most action for your budget, you run the risk of delivering to a disproportionately large amount to one part of your audience compared to your ad set specifications.

If your goal is to reach an equal number of both genders, as is our goal in this case study, then creating two separate ad sets – one for just men, and one for just women – can solve this problem.

If the male and female reach were roughly equal but all of the other data above stayed the same (i.e. current numbers of clicks), it would be safe to say more men were interested in this ad than women. In that case, you may want to recreate an ad set that was geared towards just men and not create one for women.

Breakdown by Age

Now let’s take a look at the breakdown by age. Our original ad set is set for ages 20 to 40, which is a huge range for age. As with gender, we run the risk of a disproportionate amount of reach being seen by one age group versus the others when the range is so large.

When we switch our breakdown report to age, we will see that the major of the clicks are coming from the age group 25-34.

Since the main topic of this blog is to tweak your ad sets to the highest performing demographic, we will ignore the possible disproportionate factor previously discussed and focus only on the age group with the highest clicks.


Breakdown by Country

Now let’s dig deeper.

We have a lot of countries rolled into this one ad set (fourteen to be exact), so taking a peek to see which countries are performing the best can help us hone in on a more efficient ad set.



Since this particular ad is time sensitive, with the goal of as many clicks to the camp registration page as possible before the registration cut off date, we are going to focus on the short term results versus any potential long term traction.

Because we are on a budget and want the most efficient ad set(s) as possible, we are going to choose the countries with the lowest cost per click for the next version of the ad set. The reason being is that because we have a huge audience sharing that daily ad budget, if we remove audiences from countries that are not performing efficiently, we will free up some of that daily budget to be allocated towards the other country audiences that are performing at a lower cost per click.

How is the cost per click (CPC) calculated? CPC is the amount you are charged each time someone clicks on the link in your ad that directs people off Facebook (aka driving traffic to your website). Your total charges are based on the amount you spent on the ad divided by the clicks to link the ad received; the total charges are based on reach.

In essence, if our ad is seen by 2,332 people in France but the link to our camp is clicked on 10 times, we end up paying $0.19 per click. But if our ad is seen by only 328 people in Luxembourg and clicked 12 times, we paid only $0.02 per click, which is much cheaper than what we paid for with the audience from France. So it would make sense to free up some daily budget to target more people in Luxembourg and less people in France.

So out of these fourteen countries, which ones should we keep and which ones should get the ax?

Let’s cut this ad set in half and keep the seven most efficient countries:

  • Luxembourg
  • Belgium
  • Austria
  • Netherlands
  • Germany
  • Sweden
  • United Kingdom

Ad Set Version 1 versus Ad Sets Version 2

So what would our new ad sets look like in comparison?

Original Ad Set:

  • Men and Women
  • Ages 20-40
  • Locations: Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden
  • Interest: CrossFit
  • Potential Reach: 3.7 million
  • Daily Budget: $1 a day

New Ad Sets:

  • Men
  • Ages 25-34
  • Locations: Luxembourg, Belgium, Austria, Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, United Kingdom
  • Interest: CrossFit
  • Potential Reach: 450,000
  • Daily Budget: $1 a day
  • Women
  • Ages 25-34
  • Locations: Luxembourg, Belgium, Austria, Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, United Kingdom
  • Interest: CrossFit
  • Potential Reach: 580,000
  • Daily Budget: $1 a day

We’ll stop the original ad set and let these two new ad sets run for the next 5-7 days to collect more data to see if we did indeed pick the more efficient demographics out of the original. By creating two ad sets at $1 a day versus just one ad set, we have essentially doubled our budget; however, we feel more confident in this boost in budget since we’ve already done an initial round of demographic testing.

Closing Notes

The Facebook algorithm is one of the most mysterious things ever; it’s not officially documented, it’s always changing and anyone who says they have this code cracked is, well, on crack.

Because of this, the name of the game with Facebook Ads is testing, testing and more testing.

If your ad sets contain a huge audience with multiple demographic factors, such as our original ad set in this case study, I urge you to take a step back and spend a few hours looking at our Breakdown data. It doesn’t take much of a budget to spend a few days testing different demographics to see if you’ve found the right one for your goals.

We’ll follow up next week to see if our second round of ad sets for this case study did indeed turn out to more efficient (versus the original) or not.

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